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Nuclear Safeguards Education Portal
  

Risk-Informed Security Design

Security is extremely tight at U.S. commercial nuclear power plants and includes barriers, check-points, surveillance systems, well-armed and trained guards, and other measures. (Source: NRC)
Security is extremely tight at U.S. commercial nuclear power plants and includes barriers, check-points, surveillance systems, well-armed and trained guards, and other measures. (Source: NRC) 

Risk assessment and risk management are fundamental principles that are the basis of designing a PPS. Risk assessment involves answering the questions:

  • What can go wrong?
  • How likely is it?
  • What are the consequences?

This assessment gives the risk analyst an idea of the potential risks that exist. Risk cannot be completely eliminated, but it can be managed by conducting a risk assessment and then asking:

  • What can be done?
  • What options are available?
  • What are their associated tradeoffs (costs, benefits, risks)?

In designing a PPS, the risk management process can be assisted by calculating a risk value using the risk equation, which is

R = PA * ( 1 - PE ) * C

R - the risk associated with adversary attack

PA - the probability that the adversary will attack

PE - the effectiveness of the security system

( 1 - PE ) - the system ineffectiveness

C - the consequence of adversary success (on a relative scale of 0 - 1 ) 

Each question answered in the risk assessment process relates to pieces of the risk equation. In the introduction, we identified what can go wrong (theft of a nuclear weapon, theft of nuclear or radiological material, radiological sabotage). The likelihood of these events can be calculated using the variables PA and PE. The relative consequences of different events are captured by the variable C.

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